by Kyla Guilfoil, Asst. News Editor
Senior Mike Hennelly was named MAAC Runner of the Week following a third-place finish at the Metropolitan Cross Country Championships hosted in Van Cortlandt Park. Hennelly, an accounting major from Suffern, NY, comes from a family of runners. As a member of Manhattan College’s Men’s Cross Country, Indoor Track and Outdoor Track teams, he is headed to the MAAC Cross Country Championships on Oct. 30.
The Quadrangle: Can you tell me a little bit about your involvement with MC’s running teams?
Mike Hennelly: Yeah, I’m on the Cross Country and the Track team, and I focus more on the distance side of things. That means for indoor track I’m doing the 3K and 5K, and outdoors I’m doing the 5K and 10K. But cross country is my main season, that’s what I enjoy the most.
TQ: So you focus more on cross country then?
MH: Yeah, definitely. I feel like it’s really more of a team sport, that’s what you focus on more, at least here. And I really just enjoy running with the other guys and just enjoy that.
TQ: That’s great. How did you get into running?
MH: I got into running my freshman year of high school. My brother was always a runner, he started running in middle school, and he actually went to Manhattan, too. He’s two years older than me. And my sister runs for Georgetown now, she’s two years younger than me. So my family’s basically been a running family for a while.
TQ: Wow, that’s incredible. How does it look now for you as a member of the teams? What part of the season are you in?
MH: The way it works is we finish spring track in May, then take a couple of weeks off and then get right into training for Cross Country. To be able to run well for Cross Country you have to put the work in over the summer. So I’ll start running usually at the end of May, and I’ll start putting in 80, 85-mile weeks. Then we come to school, and basically from August to the beginning of November is when Cross Country is. We’re getting into the championship season now. Two weekends ago was our Met Championships, and we have the MAAC Championships in 10 days. So this is the most important time of the year.
TQ: Can you talk a little bit more about the championships that were a couple of weekends ago?
MH: That was the Metropolitan Championships, we had that at Van Cortlandt [Park]. The Met is with a lot of schools in the area, like Fordham, Columbia, Iona, St. Peters, Rutgers. So, it’s a little different. We focus more on the MAAC Championships, but we won Mets, and that was pretty nice.
TQ: That’s awesome. And you were named Runner of the Week for your race at that meet, which is great, congratulations.
MH: Yeah, thank you very much, I appreciate it.
TQ: Of course. Were you expecting that award? What was your reaction?
MH: I wasn’t really expecting it, I didn’t really think of it at first, and then somebody actually sent it to me, and I was like, ‘Wow, this is actually really cool.’ I wasn’t expecting it, so it was cool to see that and see that some of the hard work is paying off.
TQ: Absolutely. And how do you feel about that race that you were awarded for? Was it successful for you?
MH: I was definitely happy with the place, the time wasn’t great. But, the goal really was to go in there and win as a team, and we ended up doing that by I think 3 points, so I was really happy with that. I placed third overall, and I was running with my teammates Pelle [Nogueira] and Ryan [Tierney] for most of the race, which was nice, made it a little bit easier.
TQ: How has training progressed since August now that you’re in championship season?
MH: Usually in August and the earlier months of the season, we’re running a lot more miles than we are right now. We’re kind of at the point where we’re lowering the mileage just to make our legs feel a little bit better. Back in August and September, we’d be going three workouts a week, and now we’re kind of coming back on that as well. And we’re focusing more on speed and fine-tuning everything and making sure everything is feeling good leading up to the race. But in August and September, we’re really just beating up on our legs and putting in work day after day, after day.
TQ: So what are your goals for the MAAC Championship this season?
MH: Really our goal is just to do as well as we can as a team. We placed fifth last year, my sophomore year we were third, which was kind of a surprise. I think we’re projected to get fifth or sixth this year, but we kind of want to prove everybody wrong, and just run as well as we can as a team. There are a lot of teams out there that we think we can beat, so that’s really what we’re doing. Individually, I’d really like to place All-MAAC, which is top 15. But, hopefully, if we place well as a team that should come along with it.
TQ: As a senior, looking back are there any highlights that come to mind?
MH: I think just within my grade, we’ve had like nine or ten guys come in as freshmen, and we’ve all been able to come in and grow and just improve together over the years. And we’re best friends, a lot of us live with each other, so I think that’s something that I’m really gonna look back on, when it’s all done. And I’m really grateful for that, just to have such a strong group of guys that I’ve been able to grow with over the past three or four years. That’s been the highlight of it all, just knowing that I have that group of guys with me.
TQ: That’s awesome. What are you excited about in these coming weeks with your team?
MH: I just think that it wouldn’t have been possible without the guys on the team. And I think that we’re getting ready to do something really special on the 30th down in Florida at the MAAC Championship, and even past that as we go into indoor and outdoor [track]. I think we’re going to be running really well, so I guess I’m just excited to see how it turns out.